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Lazaro Gamio / Axios

It's hard to think of another Cabinet secretary in recent memory who's been as hostile to part of his duties as Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is to overseeing the Affordable Care Act.

  • Most new administration come in with some reservations about their predecessors' policy decisions and aims to nudge things in a new direction — but that's hardly the same thing as producing P.R. materials attacking a law you're supposed to be implementing, and reportedly using money set aside to promote that program.
  • "If you believe in the rule of law, then those reservations notwithstanding, the executive branch has a duty to execute the laws," said William Galston, who served in the early days of the Clinton administration and now chairs the governance studies program at the Brookings Institution.

Price has been one of the administration's loudest critics of the ACA, and HHS has disparaged the law even in updates about its progress. But it's still up to HHS and the IRS to carry out the ACA's most significant provisions.

For context:

  • Democrats never loved Medicare Advantage, the partially privatized program created under the George W. Bush administration, and didn't love the structure of Medicare's prescription-drug benefit, either.
  • But when President Obama came into office, his administration carried out those programs relatively normally. It tried to cut Medicare Advantage payments a few times, but it didn't run ads or put top officials on TV trying to discourage enrollment. The parts of the drug benefit it didn't like were changed in the ACA.
  • The closest parallel, Galston said, would be the tug-of-war between administrations at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been sued in the past for refusing to carry out responsibilities it had been tasked with. If Price goes that far, he also could face the threat of legal action.

Yes, but: "This is an unusual case," said Mark McClellan, who oversaw Medicare, Medicaid and the FDA during the Bush administration, citing the problems the ACA has experienced on the ground — even with the Obama administration's aggressive effort to make it work as well as possible.

"This has been a little bit more fragile," he said. "To me what seems likely is markets continuing to limp along in some states unless administration decides to do something much more active" to disrupt those markets.

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A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

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The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

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Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.